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Bob Laine: IT man in the South Loop

Mon, Feb 23, 2015

boblaineWhere did you grow up?
I grew up here in Chicago, on the North Side. As a matter of fact, I was born right on the lakefront, at St. Elizabeth’s. I grew up in Hermosa (Pulaski & Fullerton) but I have always felt a kinship with the lakefront.

What brought you to StreetWise?
I had been unemployed for about a year and a half, and I came to StreetWise just after Thanksgiving of 2014. My hope was to make money to finance my job search.

What did you do before?
I have a bachelor’s in computer science, so I was doing all IT work, primarily technical analysis. I did a lot of phone and onsite support. My last full-time position was as a network administrator, mainly downtown.

Where do you sell Streetwise?
I am at State and Jackson, at the DePaul Barnes & Noble. It’s a great store.

Do you have any strategies for selling the magazine?
I work mainly the afternoons and early evenings. I find it a lot easier to meet people when they are not in such a rush to get to work. They have more time to be leisurely after work. I worked primarily downtown all of my life, so I know the mindset of the people down there. I also always carry a dress shirt, tie, slacks, and all of my resumés in my bag so that I am always prepared.

Is there anything about the South Loop that you wouldn’t know if you were not a vendor?
The one thing that I discovered was the 9th floor of the Harold Washington Library. I was always familiar with the 3rd through 8th floors, which is what everyone is accustomed to, but the 9th floor has a special entrance way. This is where they do all of their exhibits. They have rotating exhibits and a permanent exhibit dedicated to Harold Washington, and also one dedicated to the architecture of that neighborhood.

What do you like most about Chicago?
Summer. There is no place on earth that I would rather be than Chicago in the summer! My favorite place is the Museum of Science and Industry, after that the Adler and Wrigley Field.

What have else have you learned working at StreetWise?
It would have to be how to improve my people skills. I have always worked at a computer, so it is good for me to have face-to-face interactions. I would say it is my biggest challenge too. I tend to be very quiet and reserved, not too social. So learning to come out of my shell is one of the best things to happen to me here.

What do you do for fun?
I play steel darts for the Chicago Windy City League. I was a captain of 2 teams all through the 90’s.

What are your future goals?
They are pretty simple, I want to find a job back in the IT field. My preference would be as a computer programmer, but even as a technical analyst again.

Is there anything else you would like our readers to know?
I would recommend that everyone enjoy the entire lakefront, not just downtown. Lincoln Park, Lakeview, Uptown, up through Edgewater has so much more to offer than just downtown. There are some great neighborhoods with great architecture, like Andersonville. Plus, you cannot beat the festivals during the summer! Get out of downtown and see more of the city!

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